Precept 12-2, Safeguard and Improve Your Environment: Take Care of Your Own Area


When people mess up their own possessions and area, it can slop over into your own.

When people seem to be incapable of caring for their own things and places, it is a symptom of their feeling that they don’t really belong there and don’t really own their own things. When young, the things they were “given” had too many cautions and strings attached or were taken away from them by brothers, sisters or parents. And they possibly did not feel welcome.

The possessions, the rooms and work spaces, the vehicles of such people advertise that they are not really the property of anyone. Worse, a sort of rage against possessions can sometimes be seen. Vandalism3 is a manifestation of it: the house or car “nobody owns” is soon ruined.

Those who build and try to maintain low-income housing are often dismayed by the rapidity with which ruin can set in. The poor, by definition, own little or nothing. Harassed in various ways, they also come to feel they do not belong.

But whether rich or poor, and for whatever reason, people who do not take care of their possessions and places can cause disorder to those about them. I am sure you can think of such instances.

Ask such people what they really do own in life and if they really belong where they are and you will receive some surprising answers. And help them a great deal too.

The skill of organizing possessions and places can be taught. It can come as a new idea to someone that an item, when picked up and used, should be put back in the same place so it can be found again: some spend half their time just looking for things. A little time spent getting organized can pay off in speeded work: it is not the waste of time some believe.

To protect your own possessions and places, get others to take care of theirs.

NOTE: In order to continue, you must complete all previous steps in this course. Your last incomplete step is